Bloomington arts group is looking to redevelop its image

  • Article by: MARY JANE SMETANKA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 15, 2014 - 2:30 PM

The Bloomington Theatre and Art Center’s new name, logo will help clarify its role and activities.

The rapidly growing Bloomington Theatre and Art Center will get a new name and logo that better fit its expanding activities.

Officials hope those simple but important changes will clarify what the center is and what it does, something that has been a problem since it was created by the 2009 merger of the Bloomington Civic Theatre and the Bloomington Art Center.

“For any organization that seeks to grow and thrive … it’s important for people to understand who you are and what you do,” said Andrea Specht, executive director. “You don’t want confusion among donors …

“This is a really exciting opportunity for us to have identity in a name and a logo that is a clear fit for who we are now and what we’re doing.”

The center is getting free help from communications firm PadillaCRT, which each year does pro bono work for selected local nonprofits. Specht said after consultations with the center’s users, a new name and logo will be designed.

Just how badly that’s needed is evident in the current logo — a pushed-together image of the logos of the theater and art facilities that merged to create the center.

“We’ve been expanding quite rapidly in the last few years, drawn more of a regional audience … and increased the professionalization of what we do,” Specht said. “We’ve reached the point where the current name and logo don’t match that.”

Confusion over exactly what the center is and what it does is tied to its location within the Bloomington Civic Plaza. City Hall is on one side; the center’s home is in the wing called the Bloomington Center for the Arts. It is one of nine resident arts organizations there. But like the other groups, the nonprofit is a tenant in the building and not part of city government, though the city offers some financial support.

The center’s three program areas are performing arts, under the brand name Bloomington Civic Theatre; visual arts, which include public art and exhibitions in the two galleries on site; and fine arts education for people of all ages.

Specht said the group recently has been doing more work outside of Bloomington, working with senior centers, schools and correctional facilities.

“We are the hub, but we have many spokes,” she said.

All the changes that occurred with arts organizations in the city in 2008 and 2009, as well as the merger were controversial, and Specht said she knows that any rebranding is sensitive.

“You have to be aware of the investment people have had in the name,” she said. “This is a project that has to be done very thoughtfully.”

She said she hopes people “will be excited with us and see that this is an opportunity.”

Padilla is expected to complete its project by the end of the year, but Specht said the new name and logo may not be used until 2015.

 

Mary Jane Smetanka • 612-673-7380

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